Original Research

Comparing the analgesic efficacy between 100 Hz and 2 Hz electroacupuncture on patients with lumbar osteoarthritis


Background and Objective: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) represents one of the major causes of increasing disability worldwide. Electroacupuncture with different frequencies at the Hua Tuo Jia Ji acupoints has been used to treat CLBP in patients with lumbar osteoarthritis. Basic studies demonstrate that 100 Hz or 2 Hz electroacupuncture has pain-relief effects on CLBP; however clinical evidence for choosing which frequency is still limited. Thus, our study aims to compare the effects of 100 Hz to 2 Hz electroacupuncture for CLBP on patients with lumbar osteoarthritis.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial of 124 patients with lumbar osteoarthritis at the Traditional Medicine Hospital at Ho Chi Minh City from September 2018 to July 2019. Patients were randomly allocated to either intervention group (n = 62) with 100 Hz electroacupuncture or control group (n = 62) with 2 Hz electroacupuncture at the L2-S1 Hua Tuo Jia Ji acupoints for 14 days. Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang decoction was also administered in both groups. Primary trial outcomes were QDSA score and the proportion of patients who achieved pain relief thresholds.

Results: After 14 days of treatment, QDSA score in intervention group decreased significantly compared to control group. 87% of patients in intervention group had pain relief of ≥70%, and only 45% patients in control group had such result. Lumbar flexion range of motion in 100 Hz group tended to be better than in 2 Hz group.

Conclusion: 100 Hz electroacupuncture had superior analgesic effects on lumbar osteoarthritis to 2 Hz electroacupuncture.

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